Calling it a lucky break is just too tame. Call it a lifesaver for this Rockford youngster.

Avery Fitzgerald is an ordinary 2-year-old boy. But recently, a photo a Rockford mom took of her son with a cellphone revealed something very frightening.

CNN reports Avery's mom, Julie Fitzgerald, noticed a couple of months ago that anytime she would look at Avery under direct light, she’d notice something different in the back of his eye.

Fitzgerald did what most of would do, she searched the internet for an explanation. She discovered a news story about another mom a white eye in photos of family members instead of the normal red eye. The white eye turned out to be cancer for those family members.

Julie informed her husband of her discovery. Initially, he says he told her it wan't anything to be concerned about. However, Julie would not let the issue rest. She still thought something was wrong

Julie told CNN:

I did not want to take the picture because I had this dreaded feeling in the pit of my stomach. I took the picture, and boom: His whole pupil was just white— and that’s when I knew.

CNN reports that Julie took her son to a specialist about three weeks ago, and sadly, they they discovered 75 percent of Avery’s eye was covered in tumors and that he likely had been blind in his left eye his entire life. Doctors determined that the tumors began growing about six weeks before  the doctor’s appointment.

Avery was diagnosed with retinoblastoma. The National Institutes of Health says it is a rare type of eye cancer that develops in early childhood before the age age 5.

Check out more in this report from WREX-TV – Rockford’s News Leader


CNN reports that doctors removed Avery’s unhealthy eye, and his family believes all the cancer has been removed. Avery eventually will receive a prosthetic eye.

Lesson learned, follow your instincts. Avery's father said:

Trust your gut. Trust a momma’s gut… and don’t wait, don’t wait to see if it improves.